As I sat at the pool watching all the children splash, scream, throw balls, and dunk each other under the water, I began to think about how all this would change in the coming weeks. With school quickly approaching, I wondered if parents were beginning to panic about whether their children were prepared for the year. I would like to take this opportunity to remind parents about things that might make this transition a little easier. Most teachers feel that the skills that follow are important for a successful school year. I am sure that many of you already do some of these things, and some of you are doing all of these things. But just in case people need a refresher, or want some unsolicited advice from a teacher (who likes to give advice) here goes:
1.) Read, read, read. (Is that a surprise?) Of course, this doesn’t mean that your child needs to read the great American novel or all of the Harry Potter books. Reading can include the sports page, the front page, the local page, Sports Illustrated, or the People magazine you purchased for the pool. They can read to themselves, to a little brother, a stuffed animal, the kid next door or to the dog. As long as they are reading something, they are on the right path!
2.) Play, play, play. (Can you believe it?) Children need to be children for as long as possible. This down time in the summer is vital for their mental well being as well as their physical well-being. More importantly, however, they should be outside playing. There is a reason schools have recess! Physical activity is good for a child’s mind and body. Kids can play organized games, imaginary games, pick-up games, or solitary games. The more physical kids are during the day, the more tired they will be at night-the easier it will be for you when the dreaded bed time rolls around. And not only is outside play good for your child, but just think about what it will do for your sanity during those long summer days.
3.) Play board games with your child. Board games provide children with chances to practice important skills, such as letting someone else go first, taking turns, and losing or winning graciously. These concepts are important for a child to understand before school starts, but they are tough, so your child needs your help. Monopoly, Chutes & Ladders, Boggle, Yahtzee, Chess, Checkers, and Risk are just some of the games that can be a fun way to help you ease your child into a better understanding of these tough concepts. A lot of these games are also good for practicing mental math, spelling and problem solving. Your child will be learning without knowing it!